Thursday, April 23, 2015

10 Cool Things

Well hello again, there!

It's hard to believe that it has been over a year since my last update. So much has happened since then! Looking back at all the changes in my life, both positive and negative, I guess I can understand why updating my blog wasn't too high on my to-do list. But as most scribes do, I feel a need to keep a record to help me reflect on how far I've come. So here goes...

10 Cool Things 
(that have happened since my last update) 

1. Defended my thesis! Yup, I finally finished my thesis, successfully defended it, quickly made all the required edits, officially submitted it, and received my bound copies! And yes, I did have a super epic party to celebrate. Disco bingo at the Grad Club with some close friends - a perfect fit!


2. Convocated. Twice. First comes tuition, then comes classes, then comes a graduation event complete with cap and gown! Or in my case, two! My B.Ed Convocation Day was shared with school friends and close family, while my M.A. Convocation was celebrated with my parents and my BFF. These two splendid days were full of special moments - like getting a hug from the Principal. Twice!

B.Ed - <3 Kingston & Queens U
M.A. - Masters get to wear cool hoods

3. Worked F1. This was a first for me. I always thought it would be cool to work at least one of every major sporting event type. Perhaps I will still accomplish this goal someday, but for now, my TV Production career is on indefinite hold. You might say I'm on the IR list. But before I left Canada, I got to spend one last gig with my TV family - and even met my BFF doing her gig near the tracks! Another first! (And yes, I still miss working live TV events.)

Driving on the track post-race!

4. Traveled to Asia. You might say it was a graduation gift, or perhaps just a chance to visit the places where my parents had lived, but this trip with my Mom (and sometimes my Dad) was a fantastic experience. Not only did I cross a bunch of countries off my travel bucket list - Hong Kong (because we know Mainland China is an entirely different experience), Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, and Thailand - I got to experience entirely different cultures, cuisines, and communities. I saw a lot. I learned a lot. And I gained so very much. It was a trip of a lifetime!

Climbed over 400 steps in Hong Kong!
Sunrise with Borneo monkeys in Brunei
Dipping my feet in the Indian Ocean in Penang, Malaysia

Touched history in Thailand

Explored the streets in Singapore

5. Moved to Sweden! Just one short week after I got back from Asia, I picked up my passport once more and moved to Sweden. Thankfully, having already pre-packed before my trip (hard) and wrapped up my life in Kingston (harder), I didn't have too much work to do. It was hardest to say goodbye to close ones, though, knowing I probably wouldn't see them for a while. (Fortunately, I found a great flight deal and got to visit my hometown over Jul break.)

Such a mess!

6. "Call me Ms. Jinnah." After settling in to my new home in Sundsvall in Mid-Sweden, I started teaching at the coolest school ever. Okay, so perhaps my vocabulary has been a little tainted by hanging out with pre-teens all day, every day. But seriously, IESS is a fantastic school and workplace, and a great fit for my first official teaching position. All jobs have their ups and downs but I have yet to regret my decision to move here, not even in just a little spark of a thought in the back of my mind at the end of a long, hard day.

Checking out my new school!
7. Turned my house into a home. Okay, so my apartment just outside downtown Sundsvall isn't really a house. Not even close. But with a little bit of TLC and a whole lot of cash, it has become a wonderful abode. And yes, I did a lot of shopping at IKEA. We're talking 3 trips before I had the basic furnishings for my new space.

Exploding Death Star! Coolest lamp ever!

8.  TRIPS!!! Since I've moved to Sundsvall, I've had the opportunity to travel to quite a few lovely places. From a quick cruise between Sweden and Finland to an emotional trip to Krakow, Poland, and a fantastic birthday trip to Athens and Santorini in Greece, moving to Europe truly has opened up many travel horizons. Plus, it's great for crossing places off the bucket list!

Pierogies in Poland
Baltic Sea cruise
Going back in time in Athens
Stormy Santorini

9. Found new friends. It didn't happen overnight, but I found a cool new group of friends to hang out with. It's been really fantastic to meet likeminded locals and expats who also enjoy doing geeky things and making terrible jokes. The parties are epic and the hugs are so very good for the soul.

Now that's a great hand of Munchkin!

10. "Home is where the Heart is." It's true what they say. I may not work as a teacher for the rest of my career, and I may not live in Sundsvall for the rest of my life, but I have found a place to call home, somewhere my heart can rest at the end of a long day. Life really is better when you have someone with whom to share the journey. And that's worth all the ups and downs that have come my way. As Rascal Flatts would sing, "God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you."

As we say in Sweden, "Skål!"